Cape Town – South Africa now has 1 686 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 12 confirmed deaths as a result of the coronavirus, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Monday.
This is an increase of 31 on Sunday’s 1 655 confirmed cases and 11 confirmed deaths.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde announced on Monday afternoon that the province had recorded 475 cases with 26 patients in hospital, of which 12 were in ICU. He said that a 82-year-old woman who died at the weekend was the province’s second Covid-19-related death.
Winde’s announcement came as field workers across the country started rolling out mass screening and testing in some of the most vulnerable communities.
Earlier on Monday, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu also announced that her department had identified five informal settlements in various provinces whose residents will be requested to relocate as concerns grow that the virus could spread rapidly in these densely populated settlements despite the 21-day national lockdown.
Sisulu said that the potential disaster which could result in the virus running rampant in any one of these settlements was the motivation for the drastic decision by her department.
The five informal settlements which had been identified are: Setswetla in Alexandra, Mooi Place in Pretoria, Duncan Village in the Eastern Cape’s Buffalo City metro, Kennedy Road in Durban and Dunoon in Cape Town.
As the country’s Covid-19 infections continue to rise steadily and an increasing number of medical personnel test positive, frontline healthcare workers in the public sector have reportedly also begun to down tools over a shortage of protective gear.
Last week 11 staff members at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban, where three patients died within 72 hours, tested positive for Covid-19.
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), which accuses the national health department of forcing healthcare workers to tend to Covid-19 patients without being properly equipped, has instituted legal action against Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and the case is expected to be heard at the Labour Court on Tuesday.
By Lou-Anne Daniels